High Court Grants Bail to POCSO Accused Upon Marriage Promise to Victim

Karnataka HC Awards ₹8 Lakh to Family of Woman Who Died Boarding Wrong Train

A single judge bench of Justice Rajendra Badamikar granted bail to the POCSO rape accused after the victim’s guardian and the accused came together and signed an affidavit wherein they agreed that the accused would marry the victim after she attains the age of majority.

The accused in this case, Lokesh Kumar, is charged with heinous crimes such as Section 376(2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 5(L), 5(n), 5(j)(2), 6, 20, and 21 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

The Facts of the Case

The victim and the accused have been closely acquainted since their school days. However, their relationship took a dark turn when the accused, under the guise of marriage, perpetrated acts of penetrative sexual assault upon her during a trip to Nandi Hills.

Later, the victim of this assault developed pain in the abdomen, and after examination, it was discovered that she had become pregnant. Due to the precarious nature of her condition, she was promptly transferred to Chikkaballapur District Hospital, where medical professionals performed an abortion to address the situation. The medical officer, when asked about her age, said she was 17, after which the police reached the hospital and promptly recorded her statement. On the basis of her statement, an FIR was registered, and the accused was arrested and later sent to judicial custody.

Court’s Observation

In court, the accused submitted an affidavit, pledging to marry the victim once she reaches the age of majority. Additionally, the minor guardian of the victim also filed an affidavit, expressing readiness to solemnize the marriage between the victim and the petitioner/accused immediately upon her reaching adulthood.

Following this, the court said, “The investigation is concluded, and the charge sheet has also been laid down. The presence of the petitioner is no longer required by the investigating agency. Hence, no purpose would be served by keeping the petitioner in custody since parties have agreed for the performance of their marriage.”

Then it held, “In view of the filing of respective affidavits by the parties agreeing to the performance of the marriage of the petitioner/accused and the victim’s immediate age of majority, I find no impediment to admitting the petitioner to regular bail.”

Consequently, the court ordered the release of the accused upon his execution of a personal bond amounting to Rs. 1,00,000, along with one surety for an equivalent amount, to be approved by the trial court. This release is contingent upon adherence to specific conditions outlined by the court.

Why is this a dangerous precedent?

The case of Lokesh Kumar versus the State of Karnataka and ANR sets a concerning precedent, as it involves the release of an accused individual of a heinous crime, specifically “sexual assault,” based on a promise to marry the victim. This decision raises significant ethical questions regarding the administration of justice in cases of sexual violence.

The Delhi High Court had earlier commented on this and termed it a “disturbing pattern.”  The court went on to say that in the majority of such cases, the accused marries his victim and later abandons her after he has evaded the prosecution.

“This is an alarming scenario that serves as a stark reminder. In certain instances, following a sexual assault, a disturbing pattern emerges where the accused marries the victim, seemingly to evade criminal charges, only to promptly abandon the victim once the FIR is quashed or bail is secured.” Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma had said this in a judgment while presiding over a similar case.

Read More: Supreme CourtDelhi High CourtStates High CourtOther CourtsInternational

Recommended For You

About the Author: Hemansh Tandon